It’s been over a week now since the Ohio House Republican Caucus failed to come up with enough votes to name a new speaker to take over for the rest of this year. House leaders say they hope to do that tomorrow. The pressure is mounting for majority lawmakers to pick a leader soon.
"Without a speaker, the House is essentially rudderless and that is making the ability for anybody to get any type of public policy accomplished difficult to impossible." - Keith Lake, Ohio Chamber of Commerce
The House has had to cancel two voting sessions because there’s an internal fight among Republicans over who should fill out the term of former Speaker Cliff Rosenberger. He resigned in April amid an FBI inquiry into his dealings with lobbyists.
Criticism from Democrats
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper says Republicans need to pick a speaker now and get back to work.
“I cannot remember a spectacle in Ohio like we are seeing right now and you have all of this work that needs to be done on the issues the average person cares about – everything from the opioid crisis to the ECOT scandal and a dramatic need for improvement in our voting systems and now here they are going into weeks without even being able to have a meeting for goodness sakes," Pepper says.
Criticism from business groups too
And six conservative-leaning business organizations have written a letter to the House, asking members to set aside their differences and preferences and focus on the needs of the state. Keith Lake is with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
“Without a speaker, the House is essentially rudderless and that is making the ability for anybody to get any type of public policy accomplished difficult to impossible," Lake says.
A spokesman for the Republican House caucus says a decision on a new speaker should be coming soon.